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Scale has always been an important factor for B2B advertisers. Whenever a new channel or targeting technique emerges that B2C advertisers are warming up to, B2B advertisers—particularly those that are resistant to change—can usually assume that their niche audience would be too difficult or too expensive to reach through that channel.

Connected TV, or CTV, is one such channel. Defined as content viewed on televisions via Internet connectivity, CTV combines the targeting and measurement capabilities of the open Internet with a big-screen, living room experience.

Many companies are excited to finally bring their digital advertising strategies to TV shows, and B2B brands should be part of that evolution.

However, most B2B CTV advertising spend has been limited to the "big guys" with a large brand budget: IBM, Microsoft, Staples. The thousands of B2B marketers focused on performance and narrower audience targets—with millions in their media plan going to other channels—have yet to dip a toe into the highly engaging channel of CTV, and that is a missed opportunity.

No More Excuses: B2B CTV Advertising Has Arrived

The pandemic has given everyone the incentive to access streaming video, and CTV has benefited. In 2020, CTV investments grew 41% year over year, making it one of the fastest growing channels.

Now, CTV has 231 million viewers in the US alone. Those viewers are among the wealthier and more educated demographics, which means they comprise a hefty chunk of business buyers.

That is plenty of volume for B2B advertisers to run locally targeted or audience-targeted advertising using TV or video creative.

No one can make excuses anymore about a lack of scale on CTV.

The format of CTV also troubles B2B marketers, some of whom have told me they want to stick to measurable channels where they can track clicks and downloads. They focus their ad spend on emails, trackable search keywords, and banner ads that drive clicks and leads.

That focus on clear, single-channel attribution helps with measurement of the current in-market lead set, but it does nothing to grow the funnel.

CTV advertising gets in front of a broad number of potential business buyers and creates brand awareness, driving early-stage research. It also solidifies messaging to current customers and leads already in-pipe.

New Messaging for More Leads

CTV is not email. It's not a website. People aren't going to download a whitepaper from their TV screen (yet). But, millions of people are watching CTV, which is much more targetable and measurable than linear TV ever was.

What's more, many business buyers are working from home, and that means a captive B2B CTV audience that will see and hear a targeted message while they're multitasking on their laptop or mobile phone.

That captive audience is the perfect place to drive net-new leads while also improving metrics on current sales and marketing activities. The necessary tests are a bit longer and more costly than the typical tweak to a search strategy, but CTV is a channel with untapped potential. It deserves time and investigation—say, 3-6 months instead of 3-6 days.

Then, focus on multichannel attribution to understand CTV's influence on total lead volume, changes in intent, sales velocity, and more. By employing the right multichannel campaign and attribution, it's possible to measure how many viewers download that whitepaper or fill out a form to learn more.

Growth-oriented B2B marketers should take stock in the value of brand marketing on CTV. "Having a defined brand allows companies to guide their narrative and the public's opinion. Branding also builds awareness and establishes credibility with prospects, customers, employees, and partners," a report from eMarketer notes.

CTV provides a combination of captivating video creative with targeting and measurability, making it a unique channel.

The Future of TV

CTV isn't going anywhere. In fact, it may just kill cable TV. Big B2B brands that used to spend on linear TV are already investing heavily in CTV because that's where their audience is—plus, they can target and measure more effectively than on linear TV.

In the future, TV ads could be interactive. Business buyers who like a B2B CTV ad they see could use voice-enabled commands: "Hey, TV, download that IBM whitepaper and send it to my email."

B2B advertisers can't use old excuses for avoiding this new channel. By doing legitimate testing, it's possible to understand the potential value of CTV as part of a multichannel B2B marketing plan.

More Resources on CTV and B2B Advertising

Six B2B Takeaways From Six Great Facebook Ads

How to Reach Families Watching On-Demand Video: Charles Gabriel on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]

LinkedIn Ads: Your Key to the Highest-Quality B2B Leads | MarketingProfs Webinar

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CTV Scale Is Here, So Where Are B2B Advertisers?

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image of Gil Barzilay

Gil Barzilay is the vice-president of business development at MeritB2B, a B2B marketing services and solutions company.

LinkedIn: Gil Barzilay